Posts Tagged ‘respect’

What is going on with so many people today who say they are going to do something and then they don’t?  I am not talking about the ones who make a commitment and because of extenuating circumstances have to change plans. 

I am not even talking about the ones who just decide that they don’t want to do what they said they would and they let you know that they changed their minds.  I am talking about the ones who say that they will do something and then disappear into the sunset without a single word.

Maybe it is just me but when I give my word, it means something.  If someone makes a request that I am not sure about, I will say that I will look into the matter and get back to the other person and that is exactly what I do. 

Many times I have made plans to meet someone for dinner and for one reason or another, one of us can’t make it at the last moment.  Well, that’s okay.  One of us will pick up the phone and we will call to confirm.  And if one of us can’t make it, that is just fine.  We will re-schedule for another time.  It doesn’t matter what the reason may be.  It might be that one of us just doesn’t feel like going that evening.  That is a perfectly acceptable reason among real friends.

But I am really bothered when I go to someone for help on behalf of someone else and I am told that the matter will be handled and then I don’t hear a word.  I know that we all get busy and sometimes we forget things so that is the reason that I will follow up regarding the request that I made.  And if I don’t get a response on the follow up, I know that I will have to start all over with someone else to help me and that often, I have lost precious time in helping someone if there is an impending deadline.

I guess that some people feel that it is perfectly alright to disrespect another person in this way because they are important enough to do so.  And I don’t know about the rest of the world but if I have come to you for help and/or guidance on a particular matter, it is because I consider that we are close enough to do something like that.  If you don’t feel that you want or care to work with me that is fine.  At least give me the consideration to let me know that you are not in a position to help, no matter the reason.

If you choose not to help me after you agreed to do so and you can’t even give me the courtesy of a phone call, e-mail, whatever, please count on the fact that I have no respect for you and if I lose respect for you, we will no longer have any association.  There are too many wonderful people out there who are willing to help or who have the respect and courtesy to let me know if they are not in a position to do so.  If you can talk the talk, then I certainly expect that you can walk the walk.  I would do no less that that for anyone else.


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Many years ago when I started teaching school, I was troubled by the fact that the many students were misbehaving and doing whatever they wanted both within and outside of the classroom.  Furthermore, whenever the behavior got out of control to the point where the parents were called in, I found that the parents defended their children and were usually rather abusive toward the teachers and held the teachers responsible for not being able to control the classroom.  After 3 years of seeing this problem escalate, I decided that the classroom was not where I wanted to spend the rest of my working life.  However, I did learn something that explained what was happening and why there was no way that the teachers were going to be effective in the classroom in such an atmosphere.


I knew that when I was growing up that if I had done anything to cause a problem in school, I would be disciplined there, my parents would be informed and I would be punished when I got home as well.  The discipline resulted not from fear but rather from having been taught respect.  We were taught how to behave, how to present ourselves when we were in public and how to treat each other.  Those fundamentals served us well at that time and throughout our lives in each and every situation in which we found ourselves.  And my parents always worked in tandem and enforced whatever punishment they chose to hand out.


As a result, we respected our parents.  We were taught how to behave.  We were treated fairly and the teaching applied to each of us three children equally.  We were fortunate to have two parents in the home who believed that their children were their primary responsibility and did monitor us and our behavior pretty much at all times.  We were given rules and regulations to follow which continued into our adult years as long as we lived under their roof.  And to this day, I am most grateful for the structure that we were provided.


What I figured out was that if we were taught to respect our parents, this automatically filtered on down the line.  We respected our siblings, other family members, teachers and all authority figures and from there, we respected property.  We learned the value of a dollar and it was explained to us that we simply could not and would not receive everything that we wanted.  Financially, it was not possible and we understood that.


By the time I started teaching, I realized that the students that were causing problems were those whose parents had no time for them.  In the majority of the cases, the parents were busy chasing the almighty dollar and never had time for their children.  That meant that the instruction and guidance that we had received was not available to these kids.  The emphasis had switched to parents believing that they were successful if they could accumulate lots of stuff and they dealt with their children by handing them money to get them out of the house and out of their hair. 


The value of the dollar was more important than the value of a person.  If a child is constantly pushed aside, he/she soon learns that they are not as important as mom and dad making money.  In many cases, the parents tell the children that they wouldn’t have to work so hard if it wasn’t for the fact that they have to feed and clothe them and keep a roof over their heads.  And when you are constantly ignored and told to go away because you are a bother and that you are the cause of the discontent in your parents’ life, you have no respect for yourself.  And a person with no respect is a life that has been ruined.  I can’t think of anything that is sadder.  Most children who are treated this way will never recover in their entire lifetime and will tend to raise their families in the same way.  But if each of us learns to treat each other with respect and dignity, we can teach by example that there is a better way and perhaps, by chance, we can make a real difference.   

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